Ben Duckett anchored the chase for England scoring 61 runs © Getty Images (File Photo)
By Nishad Pai Vaidya
Dubai: Feb 22, 2014
England won a riveting encounter against India in the ICC Under-19 World Cup 2014 quarter-final at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium. It was a game that saw an unpredictable ebb and flow of momentum and ultimately, England held their nerve in a last over finish as they clinched the game by three wickets. Rob Sayer hit a boundary on the first ball of the final over to seal the match for England.
There was some pressure on India although they came unbeaten into the quarter-final. With the delayed start and some fog around the ground, Vijay Zol won the toss and chose to bat first. It seemed a brave decision and did hit India hard early on when the England seamers were all over them.
While Jack Winslade bowled a bit back of a length, Matthew Fisher was right on the money and hit the perfect channels. As a result, he had Akhil Herwadkar and Sanju Samson off consecutive deliveries as they fished outside the off-stump. Earlier, Ankush Bains had been dismissed by Winslade.
Fisher kept the pressure going and had Ricky Bhui, with India 26 for five under 10 overs. It was then that India decided to get Deepak Hooda instead of Sarfaraz Khan. In tandem with Zol, Hooda put up 87 runs, although they were helped by England.
England dropped a few catches and had they been taken, India would have been under the pump. Zol was dropped early in his innings and on 27, Hooda pulled Ryan Higgins and was grassed at mid-on.
As the English spinners came on, Zol and Hooda grew in confidence and took the attack more often. On 48, Zol chipped Robert Sayer straight to cover. That brought Sarfaraz in and all eyes were on him once Hooda was dismissed for a well-made 68.
With the support of the tail, Sarfaraz extended India’s challenge. Initially, he played with a lot more caution and then increased his scoring rate towards the end. He got to his fifty off the last ball as he creamed some authoritative strokes through the off-side. India’s 221 looked competitive, but they had to bowl really well.
England began well with Jonathan Tattersall starting off fluently. However, they lost wickets at the other end courtesy the Indian pacers and once Tattersall was dismissed England were under pressure.
However, Ben Dukett walked out and then unleashed his fearless brand of cricket. He reverse swept the Indian spinners and got England right back into the game in no time. As he marched to his fifty, Ed Barnard was going smoothly, but then once he was caught at long-on, India were back. And then they got the big scalp of Duckett as Kuldeep had him caught. With Will Rhodes bowled by Kuldeep, India were all but back.
But, then Joe Clarke came in and played an innings of substance. He did have a life when Hooda dropped him at long-on when he was on eight. That was a bad miss as Clarke continued to chip away at the runs quietly, getting the occasional boundary. Once, it boiled down to 27 off 30 with Kuldeep’s last over, one knew it was the decisive one.
Clarke started off by slog-sweeping one over mid-wicket for a four and then tried another, only to hit it high in the air. Zol ran back from mid-wicket and took a good catch.
India’s bowlers did try to apply a bit of pressure, but with four to get off the final over, it was all too easy.
India Under-19 221 for 8 in 50 0vers (Vijay Zol 48, Deepak Hooda 68, Sarfaraz Khan 52*; Matthew Fisher 3 for 55, Rob Sayer 1 for 27) lost to England Under-19 222 for 7 in 49.1 overs ( Ben Duckett 61, Joe Clarke 42; Kuldeep Yadav 3 for 46, Aamir Gani 1 for 37) by 3 wickets.
Man of the Match: Ben Duckett
(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_44)